Treating White Tongue at Home

Have you been struggling with a white tongue that won’t go away? You’re not alone. Read on to learn more about the various treatments available to help you get rid of this uncomfortable condition in the comfort of your own home.

Quick facts: Treating White Tongue At Home

  • ✅ Saltwater Gargles are an effective home remedy for white tongue – Mayo Clinic
  • ✅ Eating a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods can help reduce the incidence of white tongue – Harvard Health Publishing
  • ✅ Practicing good oral hygiene, such as brushing twice a day and flossing, will help reduce the buildup of bacteria that can cause white tongue – American Dental Association
  • ✅ Scraping the tongue with a tongue scraper is an effective way of removing bacteria and food particles that can cause white tongue – National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
  • ✅ Drinking plenty of water helps to flush the mouth and reduce the amount of bacteria that can cause white tongue – WebMD
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    White tongue is a common condition that most often affects the top and sides of the tongue. It is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria, fungi, and dead cells that accumulate on the surface of the tongue. This accumulation can appear as white patches or a whitish coating on the tongue. Though generally harmless, white tongue can sometimes be a sign of other conditions such as oral thrush or oral lichen planus, both of which should be treated by your healthcare provider.

    White Tongue can also cause uncomfortable symptoms such as bad breath, a metallic taste in your mouth, and/or burning or painful sensations. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you may want to consider treating your white tongue at home with natural remedies like:

    • Brushing your tongue regularly
    • Using an antifungal solution or mouthwash.

    Depending on how severe your white tongue is and any other underlying conditions you may have, it’s important to speak to your healthcare provider before attempting to treat it at home.

    Causes of White Tongue

    White tongue is a condition that causes a white coating to form on the tongue. The cause of white tongue can be either harmless or a sign of an underlying medical condition. It can be caused by a buildup of bacteria, yeast, or dead skin cells on the tongue. Certain lifestyle factors, such as poor oral hygiene, smoking, and alcohol consumption, can also increase your risk of developing white tongue. Additionally, certain medical conditions such as HIV, anemia, and diabetes can also predispose you to white tongue.

    Let’s take a look at the causes of white tongue:

    Poor oral hygiene

    Poor oral hygiene is one of the most common causes of white tongue. If bacteria and debris are not removed through proper brushing and flossing, they can accumulate on the surface of the tongue, leading to a white coating. Additionally, drinking too much alcohol or smoking can lead to an increased buildup of bacteria in the mouth, which can also cause white tongue.

    It is important to maintain good oral hygiene practices such as brushing twice a day and flossing regularly in order to prevent this condition from occurring. If poor oral hygiene is causing your white tongue, simply follow the steps listed above and you should begin to see results within a few weeks.


    Smoking is a major cause of white tongue. When you smoke, toxic chemicals and tar from cigarettes and other tobacco products coat the surface of the tongue. This interferes with the normal cleansing process of the tongue and prevents it from sweeping away dead skin cells that can lead to appearance of white patches. Reportedly, smokers are more than twice as likely to develop white tongue as compared to non-smokers.

    It is important to note that smoking does not only cause white tongue but also has several adverse effects on one’s health such as:

    • Weakening your immune system
    • Increased risk of cancer
    • Poor circulation in the body

    All of which can contribute to developing oral problems such as burning sensation in mouth or bad breath. Thus, quitting smoking or its reduction can help in overcoming this condition and keep your oral health in good state.


    Dehydration is one of the most common causes of white tongue. When your body does not receive enough fluids, your saliva production decreases, causing your tongue coating to become dry and white. When this happens, food debris, bacteria, and fungi can trap themselves in the cracks of your tongue’s surface. This can result in a white or yellowish discoloration that may cause bad breath.

    Fortunately, treating dehydration is relatively simple. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration from occurring in the first place. Additionally, if you’re dehydrated, drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water spread throughout the day until you’re fully hydrated again.

    Dry mouth

    Dry mouth is a common cause of white tongue. It occurs when there is not enough saliva in the mouth to maintain hydration. Saliva is important for keeping the mouth moist and removing food particles, bacteria, and other debris from the tongue surface. Without enough saliva, food particles remain on the tongue and provide an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. This can cause white patches or coating to form on the surface of the tongue.

    Additional symptoms of dry mouth include:

    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Burning sensation in the throat
    • Chronic dry cough

    Fortunately, there are ways to treat dry mouth at home by drinking plenty of water throughout the day and avoiding foods that are high in sugar or salt. Over-the-counter oral care products that help stimulate saliva flow like gums or mints may also be helpful.

    Certain medications

    Certain medications can cause your tongue to become coated in a white film or have white patches. Medications such as antibiotics and antifungals can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your mouth, resulting in a buildup of Candida albicans, which is responsible for many cases of white tongue. Additionally, medications such as those used to treat depression or acid reflux disease can also cause changes in the balance of bacteria in your mouth and result in discoloration.

    If you notice changes to your tongue when taking medication, talk to your doctor about other possible treatments that may be more suitable.


    White tongue is a condition where a white coating appears on the tongue. This can be caused by a number of things, including poor oral hygiene, smoking, or dry mouth. It might also be an indication of something more serious, such as a yeast infection.

    Common symptoms of white tongue include:

    • A white coating on the tongue
    • A burning sensation
    • Bad breath

    Let’s take a look at these symptoms in more detail.

    White patches on the tongue

    White patches on the tongue are a tell-tale symptom of white tongue, a benign but unsightly condition of the mouth. White patches may appear on the top, sides or back of the tongue, and can vary in size from pinpoint spots to large blotches. The area may be sensitive to pressure and have a soft, velvety texture. In some cases, bacterial overgrowth that causes white tongue may also cause a “hairy” feeling on the tongue’s surface when it rubs against food or teeth while eating or drinking. The presence of small bumps and an unusually bright red color can also indicate white tongue.

    Treatment depends on what is causing the condition – often oral thrush (a fungal infection), poor dental hygiene, smoking, dehydration and stress – and often includes improved oral hygiene practices such as brushing at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing regularly as well as avoiding irritating foods/drinks like spicy foods or alcohol. Depending upon what is causing it, your medical provider may recommend medications like antifungal rinse/lozenges or antibiotics to treat underlying causes if necessary.

    Bad breath

    Bad breath is one of the main symptoms of white tongue. The discoloration can cause a buildup of bacteria in the mouth that causes a foul smell. Halitosis, the scientific term for bad breath, is usually caused by bacteria that accumulate on the tongue and in other parts of the mouth. Those with white-coated tongues may also find that their breath remains after brushing and flossing.

    In order to reduce bad breath due to white tongue, it is important to:

    • Brush and floss regularly
    • Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash
    • Increase saliva production

    Additionally, increasing saliva production can keep bacteria levels low by washing away excess food particles and dead cells from the mouth. Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on mints can help stimulate saliva production as well as freshen up your breath.

    Metallic taste in the mouth

    A metallic taste in the mouth is a common symptom of a white tongue. This can be caused by bacteria that get trapped in your taste buds or an overgrowth of yeast in the mouth. Other causes of a metallic taste include medications, poor oral hygiene, smoking, and certain infections.

    Treatment for this symptom includes:

    • Brushing your teeth regularly and flossing to get rid of any trapped bacteria.
    • Rinsing your mouth with salt water or baking soda to reduce the metallic taste caused by overgrowth of yeast or bacteria.

    If this does not solve the issue, consulting with a dentist may be necessary to determine the underlying cause for this symptom and provide appropriate treatment.

    Home Remedies

    White tongue is a common condition that can result from poor oral hygiene, dehydration, or certain medications. Fortunately, it is usually easily treatable with home remedies.

    There are several natural treatments that you can use to alleviate the discomfort of white tongue, such as drinking plenty of water and brushing your tongue regularly. Let’s take a look at some of the home remedies that you can try to treat white tongue:

    Increase your water intake

    Increasing your water intake is one of the simplest ways to improve your oral health and treat white tongue. Adequate hydration helps to dilute bacteria, food particles, and other pathogens that can lead to white tongue. Additionally, drinking water throughout the day can help to flush away dead skin cells, build up of bacteria and other debris from your mouth.

    It is recommended that adults drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day for optimal health. To get rid of white tongue, try sipping on warm saltwater or gargling with mouthwash as well.

    Practice good oral hygiene

    Practicing good oral hygiene is essential to treating and preventing white tongue. This involves brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing once a day, and using an antiseptic mouthwash. It’s also important to keep your tongue clean by brushing or scraping it every day with a tongue scraper. When you brush and floss, make sure to reach all areas of the mouth, including the back and sides of the tongue.

    Additionally, try to limit sugary and acidic foods in your diet. These can increase your risk for developing white tongue or cause an existing condition to worsen.

    Finally, if you use tobacco products, quitting can help improve the health of your entire oral cavity and reduce your chances of developing white tongue in the future.

    Use a tongue scraper

    One of the most popular home remedies for treating white tongue is to use a tongue scraper. This device is designed to gently remove plaque and bacteria from the surface of the tongue, eliminating any debris which may be causing the discoloration. It can also help remove any food particles that may have been trapped in between your taste buds and any crevices in your tongue.

    Use your tongue scraper gently each day, rinsing it with warm water afterward. This should help reduce or eliminate white patches on your tongue, as well as improve bad breath associated with it.

    Try a salt water gargle

    A salt water gargle is a simple and effective home remedy for treating a white tongue. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water, and then rinse and gargle it around your mouth and throat. Doing so can help reduce symptoms of the white tongue by killing off any bacteria that may be causing the issue. Furthermore, this method will help to reduce overall inflammation in the mouth, improving breath and fighting other bacterial infections such as gum disease or oral thrush. Try this remedy 1-2 times per day for best results.

    Additionally, drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day can also help to keep your mouth healthy and hydrated, both of which are essential for protecting against infection.

    Use baking soda

    Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a popular home remedy for treating white tongue. Baking soda can help to remove the white coating on your tongue and restore its natural color.

    To use baking soda, mix half a teaspoon of it in a cup of warm water and stir until it dissolves completely. Swish the solution around your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out. Use this remedy twice daily for at least a week or until the white patches on your tongue have disappeared.

    You can also add some baking soda to your toothbrush when brushing your teeth to help reduce the amount of bacteria that may be causing the white patches on your tongue.

    Try an herbal remedy

    Herbal remedies are a natural way to treat white tongue, as they contain powerful antifungal and antibacterial properties. Common herbs used to treat white tongue include cloves, cinnamon, ginger, licorice root, oregano oil, tea tree oil and turmeric.

    • Cloves can be chewed or crushed and applied directly to the affected area of the tongue.
    • Cinnamon can be added to warm water and consumed as a beverage.
    • Ginger can also be added to warm water or combined with honey for the treatment of white tongue.
    • Licorice root can be steeped in boiling water for up to 15 minutes then cooled before drinking it.
    • Oregano oil and tea tree oil should both be diluted with olive oil before applying directly to the affected area of the tongue.
    • Turmeric can be combined with warm water and honey in order to create a paste that can be applied directly on the affected area.

    When to See a Doctor

    If your white tongue persists after at-home treatments, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, sore throat, or difficulty swallowing, then you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will be able to diagnose your condition and provide you with a treatment plan.

    In some cases, you may need to take medication or undergo other medical treatments. It is important to take action as soon as possible to avoid potential complications.

    If the white patches don’t go away

    White patches on the tongue is commonly caused by the oral fungal infection known as thrush. If you notice white patches on your tongue that don’t go away after two weeks of at-home treatment, it’s important to see your doctor. They can accurately diagnose what type of infection it is and provide medications to help treat it appropriately, either in pill form or a topical cream.

    If you think that you may have an underlying medical condition such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, or other conditions that can lead to white patches on the tongue – this should also prompt seeing your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will be able to properly diagnose and identify any underlying causes contributing to the white patches and provide appropriate treatment.

    If the patches are painful

    If the patches of white film on your tongue are sore or tender, it’s best to see a doctor as soon as possible. The soreness can be caused by an infection or even more serious conditions, such as oral cancer. It is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist or doctor if the patches cause pain or discomfort.

    In addition to being painful, other symptoms that indicate you should seek medical help include:

    • Fever
    • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and jaw area
    • Redness that does not go away after rinsing with water
    • Bad breath

    If you notice any of these symptoms when checking your tongue for white patches, make sure to visit a doctor right away.

    If you experience any other symptoms

    It is always a good idea to seek medical advice if you experience any other symptoms along with your white tongue. While these symptoms typically point to an underlying issue such as poor oral hygiene or dehydration, they can also be caused by a more serious condition that requires medical treatment.

    Medical attention should be sought if the white patches on your tongue cause pain or change in texture or color, spread to the lips, gums and sides of the mouth, or are associated with fever, sore throat or other illnesses. Additionally, see a doctor if your white tongue does not resolve after a little over two weeks of home care. In some cases, an underlying health condition might be causing the white patches on your tongue and require immediate attention.


    Eating a healthy diet, drinking enough water and practicing good oral hygiene are all important for keeping the tongue pink and healthy. If the white patches persist even after incorporating these preventive measures into your daily routine, it is advisable to see a doctor.

    In some cases, white patches on the tongue can be an indication of an underlying medical condition or infection. If this is the case, treatment will be necessary to get rid of it and to prevent any further complications that may arise from it. Additionally, having regular dental check-ups is also important to ensure that your teeth and gums are in tip-top condition. Doing so can help you spot any potential problems early on, making them easier to treat or manage.

    FAQs about: Treating White Tongue At Home

    Q: What is white tongue?

    A: White tongue is a condition where the surface of your tongue appears to be white due to a buildup of dead skin cells or bacteria. It is not usually a cause for concern and can be treated at home.

    Q: What are the symptoms of white tongue?

    A: Symptoms of white tongue can include a white coating on the tongue, bad breath, and a burning or tingling sensation in the mouth.

    Q: How can I treat white tongue at home?

    A: The most effective way to treat white tongue at home is to use a tongue scraper to gently remove the white coating. You can also try using a mouthwash containing hydrogen peroxide or baking soda, or brushing your tongue with toothpaste.

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